The History of the Fortune Hunter
When I read historical fiction I always like to know a little back story on the real events. It helps connect me to the story and understand nuances when the author brings the era or person to life. Elisabeth, the Empress of Austria is one of the main characters in The Fortune Hunter. She became an empress at 16, did not care for life at court, and rebelled against her traditional duties. She was known for her very long hair and rigorous beauty routines. During her life time she had 2 daughters and finally a son, an heir to the throne. Her mother in law was very controlling and did not allow her to care for her own children. She spent a great deal of her life traveling apart from her husband and riding horses until her health did not permit it anymore. The Fortune Hunter brings her to life beautifully. Here is a picture of her with her very long hair, it is said it took 3 hours a day to care for it and caused her extreme headaches.
Bay Middleton was a handsome equestrian as well and was asked by the Empress to be her pilot on her hunting excursions. Charlotte Baird was later his wife. This book tells the story of their life before marriage.
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The Fortune Hunter
Old England as a setting always wins me over, and it was no different with The Fortune Hunter. When the book opens, it is hunting season and these high class English are up for a good fox hunt. The main characters in this story are Charlotte Baird, an heiress and photographer, and The Empress of Austria. Charlotte is heir to the Lennox fortune and naturally has to wade through conniving men wanting her money more than her. She bucks tradition and follows her love of photography and horses more than society and social expectations. Throw in a handsome equestrian named Bay Middleton, and you have quite a love story during hunting season. I loved this book on audio, if you do audio books at all this is a perfect one to listen to. There are 3 different accents that bring this story to life. The beginning takes a bit of perseverance to get through, but it is a strong story. It is an opulent portrayal of royalty and wealth, the search for true love and the longing to be known and cherished as a person, not an opportunity.